He stood at the edge of the football practice field, shouting out instructions as his team warmed up for practice.
Brian Stewart watched on as his Middle Tennessee Christian School football team finished going through different drills. There was a calmness on his face. He even had a smile.
And why not?
This was the type of start to the season that Stewart envisioned three years ago when he left Mobile Christian, Ala. to be the Cougars’ coach two months prior to the start of the 2011 season.
MTCS is 2-0 and has yet to allow a point this season heading into Friday night’s contest at Mt. Juliet Christian. The Cougars had given up 75 points and were 0-2 at this point a year ago.
“I just think we’re older, we’re bigger, we’re stronger and we’re smarter,” said Stewart, who won a state title at Jackson Christian. “We’ve been in the fight for two years and understand what it means to go through tough times.
“Now, we’re enjoying the fruits of our labor. We’re doing things right, and we’ve always tried to do things right. I try to teach these kids and coach these kids like state champions. We try to have a state championship practice every day.
Yes, the Cougars have possibly enjoyed the past two weeks more than anyone in the county. Sure, there are four other Rutherford County teams — Blackman, Eagleville, Oakland and Smyrna — that are 2-0 right now.
None of those teams, though, have been through what the Cougars have been the past two seasons. MTCS was 1-19 over the past two seasons.
“Winning the first two games gives you confidence,” Stewart said. “I don’t think they are overconfident by any means.”
These Cougars know things are going to get tougher as the season advances. MTCS’ two wins come against a Cannon County and Zion Christian team that have yet to win a game this season.
Cannon County is still searching for its first points of the season.
But winning does bode well for a team’s self-confidence.
“I think they understand where they are, and where they were,” Stewart said. “Now, can we continue to play great football as the competition gets better and better.”
MTCS plays at Mt. Juliet Christian at 7 p.m. Friday. The Saints are 0-1 this season after falling to Whitwell 31-21 in Week 0. They didn’t play in Week 1.
The Cougars have been 3-0 just one time — in 2008 under former coach Philip Shadowens. It would give MTCS a large amount of momentum into their first two District 9-A games against Fayetteville and Community.
A 3-0 start would only justify what many already knew — that Stewart was the right choice when he replaced David Peden.
“We definitely want to do some things that have never been done before,” Stewart said. “That’s our goal, to accomplish some things that have never been done.”